Robin Gow

Do I Want to Decompose Like This?

Time-lapse decomposition videos comfort me.
The busy work of worms and flies that come
and go like beads. In the backyard, we buried
our dead fish and our dead chickens and our dead turtle.
Made headstones of wood. Everything is gone now
besides maybe their bones. Time has a way of lapsing
and lapsing. Maybe the angels take turns
watching us turn into nothings.
When you say, “I want a sky burial” I think “diffuse.”
God, I wish I could be eaten and eaten and eaten
or maybe I am indulging in a myth of endurance.
That by becoming vulture blood I will still
write poems and still listen to radio-repeat songs
and crave ice cream only when the night comes
with worn knees. The fabric of the world is
a loose web of ripening and rotting and riches.
The worms talk to each other about blood.
I crouch in the grass and find a squirrel skull.
Try to boil it. Watch the eyes turn into eggs.
Give up and throw out the skull and the pot.
I do not know if I am ready to be so gone. Do not
want to believe I have so many bones. All I know
is the mushrooms always come last. Bursting like nurses.
As if there was a remedy left to be had.
Sinking skulls. Incoming colonies of the oldest words,
the mushrooms fill their gills with secrets.

Robin Gow is transgender poet and witch from rural Pennsylvania. They are the author of several poetry collections and chapbooks, an essay collection, and Young Adult and Middle-Grade novels in verse. Gow’s poetry has been published in Poetry Magazine, The Southampton Review,
The Rumpus, Washington Square Review and many more.